Monday, August 16, 2004

Reaction to Houston man's ad campaign for a liver

Following the success of Todd Krampitz's advertising campaign for a liver, the Associated Press quoted the United Network for Organ Sharing as saying that efforts like his "can create an uneven playing field for individuals on the national waiting list for organs." But the allocation system UNOS runs is already unfair. It gives about 70% of all organs to people who haven't agreed to donate their own organs when they die.

As long as people who refuse to sign a donor card can jump to the front of the waiting list if they need a transplant we'll always have an organ shortage. The solution to the organ shortage is simple -- if you don't agree to donate your organs when you die, then you go to the back of the waiting list if you ever need an organ to live.

The Houston Chronicle chimed in with an editorial. While acknowledging that directed donations are legal, it says Mr. Krampitz' solicitation of a donation "poses unsettling ethical questions."

Among the "unsettling ethical questions" not mentioned in the editorial are these: Is it ethical to forbid someone from using every legal means to get an organ that will save their life? Is it ethical to deny someone their legal right to donate an organ to a person of their choice?

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